Press Releases: Do It Differently Online

Press release guidelines for the online PR market

Public relations performed offline is a bit different than online PR. They both incorporate the same components of creating relationships, yet do it in different ways. The truth is that in 2010, in some circles, ink on paper as a press release might get you laughed out of the newsroom.

In the days before heavy Internet usage, many publicists turned to media relations. In addition to communicating with their publics, they would attempt to secure coverage in magazines or newspapers whose readership would be interested in information.

As readerships grew, more and more time was spent in this manner. However, that approach relied on external factors such as the writers and editors at the magazines.

Online PR has brought the public feel back with the ability to reach communities directly and the ability to have two-way communication with those communities. PR still can include speaking at conferences, crisis communication and employee communication, but now there are more mediums for this communication. Press release distribution, forums, social media, video clips and audio pieces are all available to the online publicist.

In addition, there are new ways to spread press releases:

  • Contacting bloggers, or submitting press releases directly to web sites
  • Social media press releases, which integrate several types of content in one place
  • SEO copywriting should be kept in mind, when writing the press release

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It’s even gotten harder to spread press releases, because of the simple process that is required to submit a press release.

  • You are no longer paying for distribution, so anyone can create and submit a press release
  • You don’t need to be a dedicated PR person to create a press release, anyone can make one
  • You don’t need to have special industry contacts to submit a press release to a website. Most websites have a place for you to submit your press release through a simple contact form.

What hasn’t changed is this:

  • You still need a great call to action – the difference is that you need to be better at grabbing their attention.
  • You still need to know people – bloggers are more likely to promote you if they know you.
  • You still need to write a better press release than anyone else in your industry, even moreso now.

One other difference is that PR used to be intangible. The advertising used by the company was considered to be the tangible because they could see direct results of the work.

However, Online PR can be partially tangible thanks to the evolution in technology. With Google Analytics you can monitor where traffic is coming from and how much there is. Goals can be set up in Google Analytics that will inform
you when a specific goal is reached.

For example, when we release free reports, we create a funnel with a specific goal for each. The goal is completed when a free report is downloaded by a new user.

After running online PR campaigns, we typically check the statistics on how the campaign did. These stats are a tangible way of determining the value behind the products we release, and the campaigns we base around them.

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